Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

       
Japanese Castles 1540-1640 The Baur Collection: Japanese Sword-Fittings and Associated Metalwork

Hagi Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady

萩藩

Hagi Domain


毛利氏
1600 - 1871

Mōri Clan

369,000 Koku

萩城
Hagi Castle is classified as a flatland castle (its layout: Teikakushiki), and is located in Yamaguchi Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Nagato Province. It is associated with the Mōri clan. Dates in use: 1604 - 1874.

This castle was home to the powerful Mōri clan throughout the Edo period. Following their support for the losing side in the Battle of Sekigahara the Mōri lost much of their land, including their base-of-operations at Hiroshima, so relocated here. Over a four-year period, a modest, flatland castle of 20 turrets and a single, five-storied main tower was built. In addition to these fortifications at the base of Mt. Shizuki, there is another fortified enclosure at the mountain's peak.

Nowadays, and at both locations, little remains except for stone foundations & small sections of plastered wall.

On the door-step of the castle grounds are the (more-or-less) preserved streets of the old castle town. Though the white-paster walls & old gates that line the streets look rather run-down, they are the stars of the show. Any extra time you can spend exploring the old town will be most rewarding. Of that I am certain.

The grave sites of the heads of the Mōri family are grouped in three locations. The grave of Hagi castle's founder, Termumoto, is located very near to the castle ruins. The lords of even-numbered generations have their graves at the Daishō-in & those of odd-numbered generations are located at the Tōkō-ji.

Timeline

1604 Mōri Terumoto commenced construction of the castle.
1608 The castle was completed.
1866 The Mōri lord moved his household to the newly-build Yamaguchi castle.
1874 The castle was decommissioned.
1875 The three major gates that linked the castle-town with the third castle enclosure (San-no maru) were sold off.
1878 The remaining gates & towers of the castle were sold off.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site
Castle townNational Historic Site
Asa Mōri NagayaImportant Cultural Property
Kuchiba Family residenceImportant Cultural Property